Pupils: Travellers:Written question - HL7958

Asked on: 16 May 2018
Department for Education
Pupils: Travellers
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to implement the recommendations from the UN Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination’s 2016 report Concluding observations on the twenty-first to twenty-third periodic reports of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland that schools should challenge racist bullying and promote respect for diversity, including through the training of educational personnel, in respect of Gypsy, Traveller and Roma children.
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 30 May 2018

Under the Public Sector Equality Duty, state funded schools must have regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people with protected characteristics and none. This includes children of Gypsy, Traveller or Roma ethnicity.

All schools are legally required to have a behaviour policy with measures to prevent all forms of bullying among pupils. Schools have the freedom to develop their own anti-bullying strategies appropriate to their environment and to decide what training to offer to staff and are held to account by Ofsted. The government's advice to schools makes it clear that a school’s response to bullying should not start at the point at which a child is bullied; the best schools develop strategies to prevent bullying occurring in the first place.

The Department for Education is providing £1.75 million of funding, over two years, for four anti-bullying organisations to support schools tackle bullying. This funding includes projects targeting bullying of particular groups. The project, led by the Anne Frank Trust, encourages young people to think about the importance of tackling prejudice, discrimination and bullying using film clips as a catalyst for discussion.

The department is also working on a tool to support schools to create an atmosphere of respect, which will reduce bullying behaviour. This will help them meet their duties in respect of equalities, behaviour, bullying and safeguarding in a way which minimises the burdens. We plan to consult Gypsy, Roma and Traveller stakeholders in the development of this work.

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